PHOTOS: Camosun College commemorates Orange Shirt Day

Students, community members, First Nation elders and residential school survivors gathered at Na’tsa’maht, an open-sided structure inspired by Coast Salish designs, located at Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus on Thursday, Sept. 29 to commemorate Orange Shirt Day. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Students, community members, First Nation elders and residential school survivors gathered at Na’tsa’maht, an open-sided structure inspired by Coast Salish designs, located at Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus on Thursday, Sept. 29 to commemorate Orange Shirt Day. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Music and drumming took place at Camosun College’s Orange Shirt Day ceremony. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Music and drumming took place at Camosun College’s Orange Shirt Day ceremony. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Relatives of selected residential school survivors received quilts, each with a unique and personalized design, on behalf of the survivors who couldn’t attend the ceremony. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Relatives of selected residential school survivors received quilts, each with a unique and personalized design, on behalf of the survivors who couldn’t attend the ceremony. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Participants also received blessed headbands, in addition to quilts. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Participants also received blessed headbands, in addition to quilts. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Tsartlip elder May Sam gifts residential school survivor Eddy Charlie with a quilt. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Tsartlip elder May Sam gifts residential school survivor Eddy Charlie with a quilt. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Eddy Charlie embraces Tsartlip First Nation elder May Sam after gifting her with a quilt at Na’tsa’maht, an open-sided structure inspired by Coast Salish designs, located at Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Eddy Charlie embraces Tsartlip First Nation elder May Sam after gifting her with a quilt at Na’tsa’maht, an open-sided structure inspired by Coast Salish designs, located at Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)

Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus commemorated this year’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with a ceremony at Na’tsa’maht an open-sided structure designed by Lekwungen artist Butch Dick.

Indigenous family support program leader Sandee Mitchell emceed the event hosted by Eye? Sqa’lewen: The Centre for Indigenous Education & Community Connections (IECC) on Thursday (Sept. 29) afternoon.

“Orange Shirt Day is an important day to honour Indian residential school survivors, as well as those who didn’t survive or died, often young and tragically, as a result of the horrors they experienced in these schools,” IECC chair Ruth Lyall said.

Selected residential school survivors were honoured during the ceremony with hand-made quilts from the Quilts for Survivors, an organization making and distributing blankets across Canada through the work of volunteer quilters.

Among the recipients were Tsawout First Nation elder Victor Underwood, Tsartlip First Nation elder May Sam and others.

The ceremony also featured a poetry reading by Beth Mills, music and drumming as well as guest speakers Eddy Charlie and Kristin Spray, who together brought the event to Camosun and initiated Victoria Orange Shirt Day in 2015.

“I’m honoured to be a witness to this year’s event, and will use it as an opportunity to listen and reflect on how to continue on our path towards greater Indigenization,” said Camosun College president Lane Trotter.

To learn more about survivors’ stories and Indigenous perspectives, the Camosun College library has assembled an updated Orange Shirt Day research guide for 2022 with book and other media recommendations.

ALSO READ: Breaking the cycle: How one Victoria woman’s healing journey is being passed to her children

ALSO READ: PHOTOS: West Shore schools come together for Orange Shirt Day


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Greater VictoriaOrange Shirt DayTruth and Reconciliation

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